Recruitment Agencies – Love them Hate them but you must Partner with them
When Linked In came along TA people were saying that it would be the end of recruitment agencies. But it hasn’t been. Certainly, the percentage share of hires made by good companies have dropped significantly for agencies. Top companies are looking at maybe as low as 1:10 in terms of the amount of agency hiring they need to use to fill roles. Before Linked in that could have been as high as 4:10. But, agencies have clung on, and some are thriving. The main difference has been the very pronounced and sometimes hateful way that in-house recruiters deal and communicate with their agencies. Agencies have become a thorn in the side for in-house recruiters who want the perfect direct hiring stats, outsourcing roles to agencies prevents them getting the perfect stats. Some companies even foolishly incentivise their in-house TA teams with direct hiring bonuses, more on that issue another time. The problem is TA teams are screwing over agencies input at the expense of quality. Many prefer a good hire over an excellent hire from an agency. This is totally wrong.
I know a company that messed about with their agencies. I know this because I was one of the agents! Back in my Executive Search days I was helping a Big global company search for a Director. I knew they were running a parallel search and eventually I came up with an excellent candidate. I got to the point of submitting the system when their TMS blocked it. The role had been closed. I was a bit bewildered as this hadn’t been communicated to me. I called the TA Lead looking after the role. She said she had indeed closed the role to future submissions such as the one I was trying to make because she had found 4 candidates directly herself and interviews had started to commence, and they were going to see how that worked before opening the system up again to me. I told her the candidate I had should not be overlooked, as he was perfect for the role but she didn’t care.
A few months later they made the announcement of the hired candidate. It was a candidate I had met with for coffee and I had discussed the role with him but I wasn’t impressed with him, so I hadn’t brought him forward. I was gutted. Had I missed out on the fee, was my judgment that poor? No, I was right. 8 months later the TA Lead called me to say that the new hire hadn’t worked out and would my candidate still be available for submission. I took it to my candidate who was happy to go forward still, by some miracle, and he started and is still there to this day doing fantastically well.
I know for a fact that this experience is replicated thousands of times over by all agencies everywhere, it is a growing epidemic – a ‘poor quality decision making disease’ spreading like wildfire through TA teams in every country.
Here is the solution – Sell the Role to the Agency
Don’t treat your agencies like second class citizens. Respect that sometimes they will come up trumps and prioritise quality hiring over quantity of direct hires. I recommend giving yours in-house team a fighting chance of 1 week to search on a new role and then go to the Agency PSL list for help.
Use the recruitment agencies as external PR consultants. They will help sell your employer brand if you let them and encourage them to. This is free PR!
Make sure when engaging them on a search that you give them the right information and employer brand messaging that they can sell and use in conversation with prospective candidates, including:
Selling points and USP’s of the role, team and company
Report line name
Team success stories
A thorough job description
Salary boundaries and package details
KPI’s in the role if present
Format of interview
Number of interview rounds
Without any of this information your agencies won’t represent you properly and you will leave them floundering and making incorrect assumptions. You will also miss out on valuable free PR. Mistreating agencies will lead to them mistreating you and they will go off and look after your competitors instead.
I have many other helpful ways to help your team build good external partnerships. One of our training courses is focussed on this very area and has led to great success for my clients. Remember it is quality over quantity in hiring stats that matter the most.
For more information contact me, Clare Reed, MD at Talent Optics for more information.